What you can expect as a mid-year AmeriCorps member
Starting service as an AmeriCorps member in January can be a unique experience. Here is everything you need to know about joining City Year in the middle of the school year and know that we are here to support you every step of the way!
So, you’re thinking about applying to City Year after the school year has officially begun, what we call a ‘mid-year’ AmeriCorps member. You know that choosing to serve students and schools is a big decision, no matter the time of year. But choosing to serve in the middle of the school year definitely brings some unique opportunities and challenges.
Simply put, AmeriCorps members who begin service in the middle of the school year add capacity to existing City Year teams and support even more students in reaching their full potential.
What should you know before you apply to start service in January? Here are few things to consider:
Be prepared to jump right into school service
AmeriCorps members who start service at the beginning of the school year (in August or September, depending on local school schedules) go through Basic Training Academy (BTA)—a month-long onboarding experience and introduction to City Year. Corps members learn about the history and evolution of the organization, youth development strategies, and our in-school service model. They’re also assigned to their teams and school communities during BTA.
When you start your service in January, you’ll receive all the same training but in about half the time. So, be prepared to hit the ground running!
You’ll also need to lean into this mentality once your initial training is over and you begin service in the classroom. With the school year already underway, it’ll take some quick learning to adjust to the pre-existing team, school community schedules, classroom dynamics, and student-corps member relationships.
On the one hand, this may seem daunting. But think about it like this: You’ll be coming into a full support network of other AmeriCorps members who already have a couple of months of service—and knowledge—under their belts. They’ll be able to show you around the school building; support you in building relationships with students they already know; and help you get introduced to the City Year community. City Year teams are also led by impact managers and team leaders who are there to advise and coach you through your service.
Adding additional capacity at a critical time for student success
While your team will be helpful in your transition, know that you’ll be able to support them at a critical part of their service as well.
This can be challenging—for corps members and students. Corps members who started at the beginning of the school year may be feeling a bit burned out and physically exhausted. With wintertime approaching, daylight hours get shorter, the weather gets colder and all of this can lead to low morale. Starting your service in January means you’re coming in with fresh energy and perspective at this crucial moment—a beneficial morale boost for your new teammates.
Relationship building with students and school partners is key. Be persistent.
Whether you start your service in August or January, relationship building is a key aspect of the City Year experience. For mid-years, this can be challenging because students will likely already have established connections with corps members and other caring adults in the school community.
You’ll need to be intentional when trying to build rapport with your new students and partner teachers. Show up for them day after day, so they know that you’re no different than the other City Year corps members that they’ve learned to trust and rely on. If you stay persistent, in time, they’ll understand that you’re there to support them and help them achieve their academic goals.
And remember that though you’ll have less time to build these relationships, they’ll be no less rewarding or impactful!
Are you interested in becoming a mid-year AmeriCorps member? Apply now!
Editor’s Note: This story was originally published in August 2021 and was updated in September 2022.
I’m Lily Proudman and from 2018 to 2020, I served as an AmeriCorps member with City Year Chicago. I...Read more about Four Lessons I Learned at City Year
Earlier this year, we sat down with several City Year Los Angeles AmeriCorps members and alumni and asked them two...Read more about Serving as a City Year student success coach
Have you ever felt vulnerable or insecure when walking into a new environment? Especially at the start of a new...Read more about Three tips to connect with students this fall
Your ballot counts! Help City Year bring together educators to discuss how to prioritize anti-racist research strategies in education.Read more about Vote for City Year’s two panel ideas for SXSW EDU!